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Real felt birds

March 11, 2017

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photo Rende Zoutewelle

Painting has been low key for awhile. I’ve tried showing up at the canvas anyway, but end up just rehashing stale ideas. It is a period where I need fresh input, so I’ll be giving it a rest until inspiration comes again.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the little guy above. I’m not quite sure what got me started on making felt birds. I had made a flock of them as brooches several years ago.

Maybe it is because the birds around here (northern Europe) lift my spirits. Not only do I regularly see blue cranes on my walks, but also flocks of geese stringing across the big skies chattering and calling to each other; and that rare treat, a swan family, whooping above with the wonderful whooshing of the wings. You just feel like you got blessed when they have passed by.

My husband has rigged up several bird feeders close to our large dining room windows and we’ve come to know the regular visitors well. Sparrows of course, coal tits like the one above, chaffinches, blue tits, ring doves, and English robins are the main ones. I just love the coal tits with their neat little black fronts and soft yellow bellies and sides. They like sunflower seeds best and will perch at the feeder tossing out everything else until they get to a prize, then they retreat to a higher branch and crack it open by holding it between their claws and pecking at it until they get to the meaty part. Chaffinches and robins will sit on the ground gratefully picking up the rejects thrown out by the coal tits. Watching the interactions between the birds is also entertaining.

coal tit n finch1

So basically I made these birds to keep me company upstairs in my studio. The chaffinch is kind of crude, it was a first prototype . They definitely have some kind of presence, though, because our dog is jealous of them!

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photo Rende Zoutewelle

If I do make more (not for awhile, they are So Much Work) I’d do a sparrow next.  They are incredibly beautiful when you stop to look – with soft grey feathers and reddish chestnut caps and streaks of black, and various browns on the head and wings. There are also white accents, bringing out the contrast of all the different feathers. And did you know there are dozens of different types of sparrows? I didn’t until recently.

Anyway, the weather here is more springlike, so instead of sitting inside making felt birds, I’ll be out in the garden enjoying the real ones!

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Needle felted landscape

June 15, 2011

A soon-to-be brooch

The little trees are needle felted. The background is a rectangle of hand-dyed and felted wool I bought.

This was satisfying to do because even though I’m not painting or drawing at the moment, on my daily walks, my eye keeps registering the colors and textures of summer happening all around me. I’ve been wanting a way to express all this beauty visually- especially the sage green waves of grain and our wonderful lollipop willows that are so characteristic of this northern Dutch landscape.

Add blackbird song at dusk, and a cloud of warm, flower scented air with new mown grass thrown in and the picture is complete.

I’m getting ready for an art/culture fair as part of a 10 day Art and garden festival here in Groningen and surroundings.

Quick art

October 16, 2008

Materials: iroko offcut, handmade vegetable paper, oil pastel tinting of wood, old camera filter, collage paper, silk thread. Size about 1 x 3 inches

I love doing these little assemblages at the beginning of the day, because, especially if it is a day with lots of business stuff to deal with, I get the feeling of having gotten my art time in.

They take so little time primarily because I always have these materials within hand’s reach in my studio.

I recently went through my collage scrap box and weeded out*, but still am left with a selection of rice papers, old wrapping paper scraps, scraps of handwriting and calligraphy on tea tinted (pseudo parchment) paper, postage stamps, hand stamped and rollered papers from my monoprint work, scraps of letters from friends with cherished handwriting and postmarks, my hand painted brown wrapping papers and tissue papers, etc.
In a separate hand sized plastic box I have precious scraps of hand marbled paper, beautiful cancelled stamps and other mini-treasures that would normally get discarded for being too small to keep.

In my work table drawer I have a small sewing kit with a tangle of silk and cotton embriodery threads. In a pinch I can go to another drawer and find a sampling of my hand painted silk scraps, felts, wools, and rainbow nylons from my old umbrella collection.

 

 

* (I made up little cellophane packages of extra papers, if anyone is interested in having some I can mail them easily. They cost 2.50 euros each.)